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Perhaps sensing a backlash from teachers, Metro Nashville Public Schools has abruptly scrapped a preliminary pay plan that would have tied their salaries to scores on state-mandated evaluations.

Only two weeks ago, Director of School Jesse Register's administration unveiled a pay proposal that would have relied on the 3-year-old Tennessee Education Acceleration Model as the key driver for pay increases, giving up to 4 percent annual raises to those who score a high of 5 on the 1-5 scoring rubric. The idea: retain and recruit the best teachers by rewarding them financially.

But after some teachers railed against that plan, Register, in an email sent to Metro teachers Thursday morning, said he would abandoning the centerpiece of it.

"At this time, we have decided to defer the decision on tying teacher pay to TEAM evaluations," he wrote. "We still will move forward with changing the way we base pay on advanced degrees and how we recognize and reward teacher leadership, but we will not recommend basing raises on TEAM composite scores at this time."

Register told the teachers that the issue could resurface.

"We also will continue speaking with you about the evaluation system and hear your thoughts on what you like and what you don't like," he wrote.

Under new state guidelines approved last summer, all districts in Tennessee are required to adopt a new form of differentiated pay by this spring. It could include performance-based pay, or rewarding teachers who teach at high-needs schools or take leadership positions. Metro's plan, which included some of these components as well, was to go into effect during the 2015-16 year.

"For now the work continues," Register wrote.

The TEAM model, three years after its implementation, is still being watched closely — particularly, for its use of what's known as the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, which measures learning gains of students and accounts for 35 percent of a teacher's overall score.

The Tennessee Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, recently withdrew its support of value-added data — calling the data too imprecise and "volatile" — though leaders say it still remains supportive of the concept of evaluating teachers.

Reach Joey Garrison at 615-259-8236 or on Twitter @joeygarrison

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